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    ABSTRACT: Polyurethane (PU) is a promising polymer to support bone-matrix producing cells due to its durability and mechanical resistance. In this study two types of medical grade poly-ether urethanes Z3A1 and Z9A1 and PU-Hydroxyapatite (PU-HA) composites were investigated for their ability to act as a scaffold for tissue engineered bone. PU dissolved in varying concentrations of dimethylformamide (DMF) and tetrahydrofuran (THF) solvents were electrospun to attain scaffolds with randomly orientated non-woven fibres. Bioactive polymeric composite scaffolds were created using 15 wt% Z3A1 in a 70/30 DMF/THF PU solution and incorporating micro- or nano-sized HA particles in a ratio of 3:1 respectively, whilst a 25 wt% Z9A1 PU solution was doped in ratio of 5:1. Chemical properties of the resulting composites were evaluated by FTIR and physical properties by SEM. Tensile mechanical testing was carried out on all electrospun scaffolds. MLO-A5 osteoblastic mouse cells and human embryonic mesenchymal progenitor cells, hES-MPs were seeded on the scaffolds to test their biocompatibility and ability to support mineralised matrix production over a 28 day culture period. Cell viability was assayed by MTT and calcium and collagen deposition by Sirius red and alizarin red respectively. SEM images of both electrospun PU scaffolds and PU-HA composite scaffolds showed differences in fibre morphology with changes in solvent combinations and size of HA particles. Inclusion of THF eliminated the presence of beads in fibres that were present in scaffolds fabricated with 100% DMF solvent, and resulted in fibres with a more uniform morphology and thicker diameters. Mechanical testing demonstrated that the Young's Modulus and yield strength was lower at higher THF concentrations. Inclusion of both sizes of HA particles in PU-HA solutions reinforced the scaffolds leading to higher mechanical properties, whilst FTIR characterisation confirmed the presence of HA in all composite scaffolds.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
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    ABSTRACT: As yet, no standard equipment exists for the measurement of heat transfer through porous materials, such as metal foams (metals with a high volume fraction of porosity). Most research in this area has been carried out using bespoke test rigs. Here the creation of a test rig specifically developed for the measurement of the heat transfer of metal foams is reported. This method has been applied to laboratory made samples processed by replication and examples of commercially available aluminium foams (Duocel and Corevo), and should be suitable for the testing of all materials with comparable permeability. As this equipment is new and unique, the design will be discussed in detail, along with the various tests that were performed to ensure reliability and consistency with other methods and published data.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Measurement
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    ABSTRACT: The main reaction product in Ca-rich alkali-activated cements and hybrid Portland cement (PC)-based materials is a calcium (alkali) aluminosilicate hydrate (C-(N-)A-S-H) gel. Thermodynamic models without explicit definitions of structurally-incorporated Al species have been used in numerous past studies to describe this gel, but offer limited ability to simulate the chemistry of blended PC materials and alkali-activated cements. Here, a thermodynamic model for C-(N-)A-S-H gel is derived and parameterised to describe solubility data for the CaO–(Na2O,Al2O3)–SiO2–H2O systems and alkali-activated slag (AAS) cements, and chemical composition data for C-A-S-H gels. Simulated C-(N-)A-S-H gel densities and molar volumes are consistent with the corresponding values reported for AAS cements, meaning that the model can be used to describe chemical shrinkage in these materials. Therefore, this model can provide insight into the chemistry of AAS cements at advanced ages, which is important for understanding the long-term durability of these materials.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Cement and Concrete Research
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